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Contemporary Plays by African Women

Contemporary Plays by African Women

Taking place on Thursday 21 February, Contemporary Plays by African Women showcased extracts of plays by writers including Adong Judith, Sara Shaarawi and Koleka Putuma.

The extracts were performed by members of the Belgrade Youth Theatre, directed by the Belgrade’s Leon Phillips and Sebbie Mudhai, as well as the University of Warwick’s Tenikah Beveney.

Extracts performed were:

  • Silent Voices by Adong Judith (Uganda), directed by Leon Phillips (Drama worker at the Belgrade Theatre)
  • Mbuzeni by Koleka Putuma’s (South Africa), directed by Tenikah Beveney (Theatre Studies student at the University of Warwick), choral work by Una May Olomolaiye.
  • Niqabi Ninja By Sara Shaarawi (Egypt), directed by Sebbie Mudhai (performer and support worker at Belgrade Theatre)

This special event marked the launch of a new book with the same title – only the second ever published collection of plays by African women and the first of its kind in ten years.

It was the first book to have come about as a result of the African Women Playwrights’ Network, a project established at the University of Warwick to facilitate research and debate amongst a community of female creative practitioners living in Africa. Funded by an AHRC network grant, it has so far connected over 240 poets, playwrights, theatre-makers and researchers from 21 countries on the African continent and beyond.

The event was hosted by Dr Yvette Hutchinson (co-editor of the collection with Amy Jephta) with playwrights JC Niala and Sara Shaarawi, and the Belgrade Theatre’s Deputy Artistic Director Justine Themen. It included opportunities to participate in conversations with other artists, publishers, programmers and theatre makers about the place in the UK for stories of people from other countries, and how these can speak to local issues and concerns.